For South African musician Rowan Stuart, stepping onto the stage is like coming home. The lights, the crowd and the warm bed of volume are his sanctuary. It’s not about the effortless and fluent guitar playing and improvisation, or the serene and soothing voice. This is a place for Rowan to share a piece of his imagination, and invite people into a world that is familiar but different each time. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal, Rowan paints a sonic landscape of Acoustic Alternative music, incorporating elements of folk, pop and world music, into a sound that is both deep and authentic.
Rowan’s audiences have seen him progress from respected session guitarist to exciting singer-songwriter in the last few years. His unique brand of music has been showcased on 3 previous albums, and his brand new offering: Hidden Doors (released May 2014), is his most quintessential album yet.
Having begun a successful season of solo acoustic performances in 2013, and having written dozens of new songs especially for the format, he was quickly able to see which songs resonated with his fans. “People started asking me for the new tracks on a CD, and I had to keep apologizing and saying that I’d get onto it soon!” says Rowan. The timing was right to commit the material to disc, and to make an album that was reflective of his live and true sound.
With no lavish productions, and a tasteful use of restraint, Hidden Doors relies on the strength of the songwriting and performances, which really shine in this format. The album was recorded and mixed by Rowan at his home studio, and mastered by award-winning engineer Matthew Fink.
Rowan has toured the country as a solo artist, opened for popular acts such as Watershed, Dan Patlansky, Jeremy Loops, Matthew Mole, and The Graeme Watkins Project, and shared the stage with Louise Carver, Nibs van der Spuy, Gangs of Ballet and Just Jinjer. Songs from his albums have received airplay on over 20 South African radio stations, including ‘Top 20’ chart success.